We discuss the Facebook pivot into the metaverse and its rebrand into Meta. Our analysis touches on the competitive pressures faced by the company from big tech players, other ecosystem builders, and limits to growth for a $1 trillion business that likely motivated this refocus. We further dive into network effects around platforms, and why super apps and financial features are attractive, and how owning the hardware is a required defensive strategy. Lastly, we discuss these development through the crypto and Web3 lens, deeply disappointed with Facebook trying to domain park a generational opportunity with a centralized solution.
Square upgrades Cash App into a payment processing powerhouse, completing the loop between the consumer and merchant side of the house. Goldman Sachs acquires GreenSky, adding a lending business at the point of intent. This analysis connects these symptoms into a framework explaining the increasing integration between commerce and finance, and the increasing role that demand generation plays. That in turn explains how the attention and creator economies interconnect with financial services.
In this conversation, we chat with Kevin Levitt who currently leads global business development for the financial services industry at NVIDIA. He focuses on global trends in accelerated compute and AI for consumer finance – including fintech, retail banking, credit card and insurance. Prior to joining NVIDIA, Kevin served as Vice President of Business Development at Credit Karma, and Vice President of Sales for Roostify.
More specifically, we touch on the role data plays in the financial industry, how the needs of financial institutions have changed, the age of big data, the definitions between artificial intelligence and machine learning, how to train an AI algorithm, the reasoning behind the incredible amount of parameters machine learning solutions consume, the fundamental purpose of AI/ML in financial services, what NVIDIA’s platforms comprise of, and lastly the future of AI/ML.
In this analysis, we explore an overarching framework for the M&A activity in the fintech, big tech, and crypto ecosystems. We discuss acquihiring, horizontal and vertical consolidation, as well as the differences between growth and value oriented acquisition rationales. The core insight, however, is about the arbitrage between the fintech and financial services capital markets, as evidenced by the recent transactions for Starling and Figure.
Facebook is building towards a Metaverse version of the Internet, in both its hardware and software efforts. What are the implications? And further, how does one acquire status, work, and social capital in such a world? We explore the recent NFT avatar projects through the lens of Ivy League universities and CFA exams to understand some timeless cultural trends.
This week, we look at:
Embedded finance as a growing theme with the $10B Affirm IPO and Stripe's launch of Treasury
The customer types that each of these firms is attempting to convert into their product, and what this tells us about economic growth
A framework for understanding the emerging value chain of digital finance, and the role of platforms and marketplaces
Google has done it. In a massive update to Google Pay, the company highlighted exactly the direction of travel for high tech, fintech, and the global banks. It has articulated a vision for competing with Apple Pay and Ant Financial. Let's walk through the features.
This week, we look at:
IBM spinning out its managed services division with $18 billion of revenue in order to focus on hybrid cloud and digital transformation
Reliance Jio, the Indian mobile telecom provider with 400 million users, contemplating financial services with backing from Google and Facebook
The role that technology infrastructure plays in the delivery of financial services